New York State implements historic tax credits to support local newspaper and broadcast news media


In a groundbreaking move, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a 2025 state budget that includes the "Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program," a $90 million in tax credits for local news media outlets, marking a significant victory for the press and local journalism.

The Empire State Local News Coalition, which helped champion this legislation, initially formed with 100 news publishers in February 2024 to work together and advocate for what was originally introduced as the New York State Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S.625-Hoylman-Sigal/A.2958-Woerner). Just a few months, the coalition expanded to over 200 news outlets.

Rebuild Local News, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advances public policies to help local news and community journalism, posted a press release supporting the legislation, stating that this is the largest sum that any state has devoted to help struggling community news organizations. The post continues: "This is a landmark step – the first of its kind to be approved by any state. It is a dramatic effort geared toward helping news outlets maintain and grow their staff. We appreciate that the lawmakers especially made sure that small and medium sized outlets were treated fairly in the plan."

The new legislation offers $30 million in guaranteed tax credits for three years, with $13 million each year allocated for news organizations with fewer than 100 employees, $13 million for larger ones and $4 million allocated to support new hires.

Caveats within the legislation, include:

  • That no single newsroom can get more than $320,000 each year.
  • The subsidy to newsrooms will be based on the number of employees.
  • The refundable tax credit offered will be 50% of the salary of any employee up to a $50,000 wage.
  • That news operations owned by publicly traded corporations are excluded from these credits.
Zachary "Zack" Richner

Zachary "Zack" Richner, a New York news publishing executive and the founder of the Empire State Local News Coalition, stated during this interview, "The success of our coalition demonstrates the power of collaboration and advocacy in shaping policies that support local journalism and empower communities."

In the press release issued by the Empire State Local News Coalition announcing the legislation, Richner also noted that: “New York is now the first state in the nation to incentivize hiring and retaining local journalists–a critical investment given that hundreds of New York’s newspapers have closed since 2004, leaving too many New York communities without access to vital local information.”

Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman, CEO and founder of Rebuild Local News, who worked with the Empire State Local News Coalition to get the legislation passed, emphasized during the intervew, the importance of designing policies with safeguards to prevent potential infringements on journalistic independence. He stated, "We must ensure that any government involvement in funding journalism is accompanied by robust safeguards to preserve press freedom and integrity."

Dean Ridings

Dean Ridings, CEO of America's Newspapers said in a statement to E&P: “This is a momentous day for local journalism. While there were many people who helped to move this legislation forward, the tireless and effective leadership of Zachary Richner was a major factor in the bill’s introduction, support, and passage. Zack is a shining example of how one person can make a difference and we are proud to have him on the America’s Newspaper’s board of directors. And now we press on to see the passage of the federal version – the Community News and Small Business Support Act.”

Danielle Coffey

Danielle Coffey, President and CEO of the News/Media Alliance stated, “Today is a very good day for journalism, and we applaud the New York State Legislature and Governor Hocul for passing the Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program, which will provide payroll tax credits for journalists. The program is a shining example of what our industry can do when it unites for a common purpose. We thank the Governor and Legislature for their commitment to sustaining the Fourth Estate, which is necessary to maintaining an informed society and a functional democracy.”

Jon Schleuss

Jon Schleuss, president of the NewsGuild-CWA said in a posted statement on the guild's Webiste: "Journalists are the watchdogs of democracy’s flame and we have to support them. The NewsGuild-CWA applauds New York state for leading the country and passing first-of-its-kind legislation to support journalism jobs and recognizing the important role journalists play by shining a light and protecting our democracy.”  

Michelle Rea

Michelle K. Rea, Executive Director, New York Press Association/New York Press Service was quoted saying, “Hundreds of news publishers of all sizes from all corners of the state wrote editorials, news articles, spoke with legislators and business and civic leaders, working for months to advance this bill.  Publishers statewide are grateful for the thoughtful and diligent leadership of the Governor, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner in negotiating the passage of this ground-breaking legislation.  These tax credits will provide meaningful support, assisting local news organizations in their mission to keep local citizens informed and engaged in the things that matter most in their daily lives.”

Jeff Jarvis
Jeff Jarvis, author, media analyst and retired director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY, issued a statement to E&P offering a more cautionary opinion, stating: “I am always concerned about government intervention in speech and especially journalism -- and about journalists seeking favors from those they should be covering independently. In my analysis of California's Journalism Preservation Act, I heard from Black, Latino, community, not-for-profit, and startup media that employment credits would do many of them little or no good as they often use freelance journalists. Unlike federal legislation in Washington and state bills in California and Illinois, it is good that this law does not try to hold a few technology companies responsible for the fate of local news. But if taxpayers are going to foot the bill here, shouldn't news organizations be required to publish some news in public, outside of paywalls, for the benefit of all?”

Both Zack Richner and Steven Waldman stressed during this exlcuisve interview with E&P Magazine, their hope that this legislation's impact will extend far beyond the borders of New York State. With initiatives underway in California and Illinois, the momentum generated by the Empire State's success aims to spark a nationwide movement.


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